1 John 4:8 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
Churches teach the biblical teaching of keeping the Sabbath. If God is love, like our Bible says, then to keep the Sabbath, we must spend 24 hours out of our week, refreshing and cleansing our lives by becoming love. 24 hours every Sunday, not judging or criticizing, not jumping to conclusions, but giving everyone, including ourselves a break. The Sabbath is – a spiritual cleansing of love. With our next celebration coming in a few days………
Valentine’s Day dates back six centuries. It was a commonly accepted day when they believed birds chose their mates. This goes back even before we linked it with St. Valentine. It has been hearts and flowers ever since. ANY day of the year that we decide we are going to become more loving to humanity, to our spouse, our boyfriend or girlfriend, and to all the people in our lives, it is a true Godly act. Valentine’s Day cards are often a good and fun idea because they help us express the human love as well as the Divine love that is inside us and allows an avenue for that love to come forth.
The two great things to hold onto in this world are God and each other. Love is the power that connects different people’s souls, broken by ignorance, fear and circumstance. Those of us who come in to the Prayer Room. http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com know this love, unconditional love. We share the love of God and the love of each other. Wouldn’t it be a glorious service to humanity, to begin THIS day, from this message, a chain of love throughout our planet? We can do this by allowing this chain of love to begin with who? WITH US. When we agree to do this, we are saying yes to God. Say, “Yes, this morning I’m going to allow Divine love to flow through me and from me.
We can begin planning now by declaring that, “I’m going to be loving to everyone I meet. From now on, I’m going to suspend my judgments on people – suspend anger, criticism and condemnation – and I agree to be loving here on out.” Try this for a month and see what happens. “If, at the end of this experiment, I choose to take up anger, hate, and disagreements with others, I can do that. But for thirty days, I’m going to walk the high path and be a real light to the world. For thirty, maybe forty, days I’m going to truly follow Jesus Christ whose main teaching was love. I’m going to become a sample of God’s love.”
Wouldn’t it be great if just for this week we named our prayer group “Valentine;” and what if we become that manifestation and then begin a conscious realization of love for the next thirty days? That means loving everybody in our lives-not just the select few who are easy to love-everybody, especially those few who are difficult to love, and keep that wonderful smile on our face to show to everybody. Make it a beacon for everyone to enjoy, savor, and hold on to. One of the secrets of life is that it’s much easier to love everyone, than to hate some. When we hate or begrudge, it becomes like a poison to the soul, which the person holds onto dearly and causes great stress and illness. The projected hate toward someone results only in negativity. So, let go of that and focus on love.
Love is the theme song of the universe. It is power of new life, not just in you but in those people who come to you on your path.
We make a great mistake of thinking that love must be returned. To truly be loving, love must free, not bind. It loves with open arms and open hands. We must love all who cross our path, and not expect anything in return. Now, some hearing this will say, “There Pastor Peggy goes again talking about that Pollyanna philosophy.” But this is not Pollyanna in any way. Love is not a matter of escape from life, rather it is a dedication to God.
When we are from the foundation of God’s love, we go to a new level of awareness of sharing-not really wanting anything from anyone else. At the opening of the Olympics and during them we see the competition but we also see the love the athletes have for each other. We watch many differing people coming together in a celebration of love. Yes, we look at each other and realize we are different, but we don’t care. We don’t ask anything of someone else, we find joy in sharing. Holding hands in spirituality, and standing up for the very best, of what is best in humanity, as a people. We are many different races and faiths becoming one people.
If we are unwilling to love the human expression of life that we have seen with our eyes, how are we going to love the source – God – which we have not seen? Some people say, “I love God, but it’s people that I can’t stand.” How can we love music and not harmony? How can we love the morning and not the day? Every individual is an inlet and an outlet for the complete love of God.
AND, we can’t possibly love anyone or anything unless we first love ourselves in a spiritual way. We have to know that if we are going to love, we have to pour that love through us (like a hose). As that love comes through us, what does that do to us (to the inside of the hose)? It cleans us out to the core, too. We become filled with love.
But, if I realize that God’s love has to get through me to get to you and I say, “Oh, I’m no good today. My hair doesn’t look good today. I look tired. This isn’t my good dress. How can I effectively talk about love because I have this outfit on? What was I thinking about?”
I am the hose of God; it has to flow through me to you.
In this world today, love is the only safe emotion there is. It is the only safe way in which we can live as a people with our fellow man/woman and with ourselves. Love gives all, but it also demands all. Love is the toughest taskmaster and hardest discipline in the universe. Why? Because we also have the baggage we carry right above our eyes in our own minds.
We, so easily, can slip back into saying, “Well, wait a minute. You did this to me last Valentine’s Day. I remember.” But, we must rise above our past. Life, to be alive, has to consent to live above yesterday. It is not held down; it is freed today in a brand new life in a brand new awareness of God.
Here is a quote from Booker T. Washington, a very famous African-American. Think about, as I print this quote. the time in which he lived, and realize he had the right to hate if anyone did. He said this: “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” It has been said that as soon as you begin to condemn someone, you become one of them.
Psalms 127:1 states: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” This is about more than a stick-built structure. It’s talking about the HOUSE OF OUR LIFE. If God is building our house, what materials does God use? Divine love!
Joel Goldsmith has written: “Illumination dissolves all material ties, and binds men and women together with golden chains of spiritual understanding. It acknowledges only the leadership of Christ. It has no ritual or rule, but Divine love. No other worship than the inner flame that has ever been lit at the shrine of Spirit. This union is the free state of spiritual brotherhood, and sisterhood. The only restraint is the discipline of the soul. Therefore, as we know liberty without license, we are a united universe without physical limits, Divine service to God without ceremony or creed. The illumined walk without fear but by love and grace.”
Love cannot just stay inside us. It needs to be expressed. We must go the extra mile. We are children of God; and orphans of society are waiting for our love.
Look in the Bible at John 3:16. You’ve heard it before, but let’s take it to a new depth today. “For God so loved the world . . .” I like that. It doesn’t say God just loved or cared for or kind of liked the world. It says SO LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Let’s talk about the size and the scope of God for a moment. The breadth of God-for God so loved the world. The length of God – that he gave his only Son. The depth of God – so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish. The height of God – but may have eternal life.
Martin Luther called John 3:16 the heart of the Bible. He said it was the gospel in miniature. He said:
“God-the greatest lover,
So loved-the greatest degree,
The world-the greatest number,
His only Son-the greatest gift,
That everyone who-the greatest invitation,
Believes-the greatest simplicity,
In Him-the greatest person,
May not perish-the greatest deliverance,
But-the greatest difference,
May have-the greatest certainty,
Eternal life-the greatest possession.”
There is only one God, and God is Love. Everything else vanishes and love, in reality, stands forth. The Biblical statement “God is love” is accurate in every way. God is not a superman dishing out love to us and expecting it in return. No, God is love, and we are God’s instrument of expression. To love God is to experience the feeling of love and to let love flow through each of us.
God is love, and in that love there is no condemnation, disapproval or fault-finding. Love always welcomes its children back into the fold.
Love always approves. Love, God, approves of us as its child. The approval of love never varies, unlike the sliding scale of human values.
I’m sure we will have disagreeable people coming to us, people who it would be easy to dislike. Just step back for a moment, step on the right foundation of God’s love, and say in prayer: “Divine love, reveal Thyself to me.”
Celebrate Valentine’s Day by using this time to make a commitment. Use your prayer time to practice love for the upcoming 40 + days of Lent (beginning March 1; start getting prepared now). Devote yourself to a cease-fire toward that which you find unlovable for the next forty-plus days. (Give it up for Lent, if you observe that tradition.)
Join me in a chain of love with all humanity around us as an experiment. I don’t think we’ll ever regret it or leave it behind.
Please join me in prayer in a celebration of the love of God.
On this week celebrating love, we ask You, Lord, to help us become the manifestation of Christ’s love as we rest into Your loving nature, dear God. Father, create in us this day a desire to mend a quarrel, to seek out a forgotten friend, to dismiss suspicion and replace it with loving trust. Inspire in us this day to write a love letter or share some treasure or give a soft answer instead of a hard response.. . .
Help us, dear God, to appreciate everything and everyone around us. Help us to be kind, to be gentle, to laugh a little more. Help use to know that we deserve confidence, that we can take up arms against malice, that we can stop complacency and express gratitude. Help use to remember to go to You, dear God, in prayer every day so we can have Your Divine love and manifest Your Divine love out of the strength we receive during our prayer time.
In the Divine love of Jesus Christ, we pray.
Thank You, God. We love You . . . Amen.